Riff with the Nasifs

By Emily McNally, Staff Writer

Chances are you’ve heard of senior Kat Nasif. She’s practically involved in every activity at school: she’s a four-year varsity cross country athlete, the co-captain of the Robotics team and a student researcher for ASI. You may know these things about Kat, but a lesser-known hobby of hers is, drumroll please…or should I say strum the guitar?

In middle school, Kat’s father, Michael Scruggs, helped her purchase her first “cheap-o” guitar off of Craigslist, kickstarting her musical hobby.

Kat has a diverse background with music: her great-grandmother was a church organist, her grandmother was a pianist and her father was a drummer in his high school’s punk band, “The Boonie Dogs.”

“To be honest, I was basically born from rock and roll,” Kat said. “My Dad played a lot of grunge/rock bands, think Garbage, Sohodolls, Oasis, around the house so I always had that musical influence in my life.”

From an early age, Kat can recall dancing around the living room to her father playing good old rock and roll, grunge and country music. With her father’s help, Kat started exploring those same genres. In the beginning, Kat would spend hours learning how to play various songs on the guitar. Through a series of YouTube videos, Kat taught herself how to read tablature, a form of music notation that focuses more on the finger positions than notes on a scale.

In addition to playing the guitar, Kat enjoys writing her own poetry, which has led to a budding interest in songwriting. Granted, she’s not on SoundCloud, but Kat still enjoys writing her own music and playing her acoustic guitar from time to time despite her commitment to the school’s robotics team.

“I’ve always liked writing as a form of communication,” Kat said. “I’m totally a STEM person, but I feel like English is probably the most important subject you can learn as a student.”

Before she got involved with extracurriculars, Kat would perform at Red Rock cafe once a week. Now, she still plays there occasionally, but not nearly as much as she used to. On YouTube, Kat goes under the name “Kat Carsley” for privacy reasons. In videos she can be found singing and playing her guitar during open mics.

In terms of songwriting, Kat enjoys the rhyming aspect of writing lyrics and creating couplets out of them. From there, she puts chords behind them, occasionally inspired by past songs she’s listened to.

“I think songwriting in particular is very impactful if you do it in the right way,” Kat said. “There’s so many different ways you can portray emotions or a message.”

Kat’s song inspirations range from the emotions she’s feeling on a certain day to watershed moments in her life.

“I was very amazed at how quickly she developed as a guitar player,” Scruggs said. “Kat was a natural and quickly surpassed me from an artistic perspective. The songs she writes are amazing.”

Here is an excerpt from one of Kat’s original songs, “Don’t Trick Me”:

“And each cut burns deeper than the last

Each memory stained with blood

I try to quit but I can’t stop you

Cause you haunt me like a drug

And I’ve tried so hard to get you off my mind

So don’t trick me into thinking that you were ever really mine.”

Being part of the music community in general has introduced Kat to new opportunities, such as performing at open mics, and make friends she couldn’t have made without it. Kat enjoys catching up with Facebook friends she has met through their shared interest in music, some even hoping to take their playing to the next level.

She plans to take her guitar with her to college, and is looking forward to meeting new people who may share her interest.

Without a doubt, music has played a large part in her family’s life. But even though Kat has less time to play than she used to, it has, and will remain, an important aspect in her character.

“I think music gave her something to focus on when things weren’t going that well,” Scruggs said, “As she developed her skills as a player, Kat found it to be a great social outlet; a way to build friendships. She practiced for hours to learn to play the songs, she also learned how hard work would lead to success.”